Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has described Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi as a man “who has the mindset of a crisis entrepreneur or war monger.”
Akeredolu stated this after Bala Mohammed, once again, justified the use of AK-47 rifles by herdsmen and also noted that Nigerians do not need the consent of any governor to reside in the forest or anywhere.
The Bauchi governor, who spoke on a television programme, was apparently referring to herdsmen accused of sundry crimes such as kidnappings, killings, rape, amongst others, by Akeredolu, and ordered to vacate the state’s forest reserves.
On Friday, Governor Mohammed said: “Land is in the hands of the state and federal governments in trust, but Nigerians don’t need the permission of governors or the federal government to settle anywhere. You don’t need the permission of the governor of Bauchi or the governor of Ondo to be in the forests of Ondo if you choose to live in the forests, because under Section 41 of the constitution, you are free to settle anywhere.”
Akeredolu had also criticized Mohammed for saying herders have the right to bear AK-47 rifle for self-protection.
However, Bala Mohammed on Friday said: “When we mention AK-47, it is a figure of speech; the issue is protection, self-help. You must protect yourself. It is a figure of speech to show you the despondence, the desperation and frustration, and the agony that this particular person is exposed to by his own people, by his own tribe, and by other tribes who have all seen him as a criminal and therefore, he has the inalienable right to protect himself.
“The Fulani man is so exposed, dehumanised and demonised. He is being seen as a bandit and so anywhere he goes, his commonwealth which I call his cows are being taken and rustled and sometimes they are fined beyond your imagination and then he has no option than to protect himself.
“It may not be an illegal carriage, it may be legal. He may also register and carry it to protect himself. They have no option but to protect themselves. The issue is self-protection. There must be some sort of approval. What I am saying is not to legalise the carriage of AK-47. I must be understood.
“Nigerians must stop profiling Fulani herdsmen as criminals because of the nature of their job. We also have so many vigilante groups in Nigeria, even at the different levels of government, sub-regional groups and sub-national.”
However, Akeredolu replied Bala Mohammed on Saturday, through a statement released by his Special Assistant on New Media, Olabode Olatunde.
Akeredolu said comments made by Bala were “provoking and insensitive”.
The Ondo governor urged Nigerians to disregard Mohammed’s comments.
Akeredolu also warned Mohammed not to set Nigeria on fire with his rhetorics.
The statement partly read, “The position of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, is not to engage or confront anyone who has the mindset of a crisis entrepreneur or war monger. Very provoking and insensitive as the statement appears, we can only err on the side of caution by advising Governor Bala Mohammed not set Nigeria on fire by his thoughts that are highly destructive and undermining national cohesion.
“Nigerians should ignore him and rather focus on those issues that can bring about peace and engender unity.”